1 [pan-ik]
a sudden overwhelming fear, with or without cause, that produces hysterical or irrational behavior, and that often spreads quickly through a group of persons or animals.
an instance, outbreak, or period of such fear.
Finance. a sudden widespread fear concerning financial affairs leading to credit contraction and widespread sale of securities at depressed prices in an effort to acquire cash.
Slang. someone or something that is considered hilariously funny: The comedian was an absolute panic.
of the nature of, caused by, or indicating panic: A wave of panic buying shook the stock market.
(of fear, terror, etc.) suddenly destroying the self-control and impelling to some frantic action.
(initial capital letter) of or pertaining to the god Pan.
verb (used with object), panicked, panicking.
to affect with panic; terrify and cause to flee or lose self-control.
Slang. to keep (an audience or the like) highly amused.
verb (used without object), panicked, panicking.
to be stricken with panic; become frantic with fear: The herd panicked and stampeded.

1595–1605; earlier panique < French < Greek Panikós of Pan; see -ic

panicky, adjective
unpanicky, adjective

1. alarm. See terror. Unabridged


2 [pan-ik]
Also called panic grass. any grass of the genus Panicum, many species of which bear edible grain.
the grain.

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin pānicum a kind of millet Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
panic (ˈpænɪk)
1.  a sudden overwhelming feeling of terror or anxiety, esp one affecting a whole group of people
2.  (modifier) of or resulting from such terror: panic measures
vb , -ics, -icking, -icked
3.  to feel or cause to feel panic
[C17: from French panique, from New Latin pānicus, from Greek panikos emanating from Pan, considered as the source of irrational fear]

Panic (ˈpænɪk)
of or relating to the god Pan

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"mass terror," c.1600, as an adj. (with fear, terror, etc.), from Fr. panique (15c.), from Gk. panikon, lit. "pertaining to Pan," in sense of "panic, fright" short for panikon deima, from neut. of Panikos "of Pan," the god of woods and fields who was the source of mysterious sounds that caused contagious,
groundless fear in herds and crowds, or in people in lonely spots. As a noun, first recorded 1708. Meaning "widespread apprehension about financial matters" is first recorded 1757. The verb is 1827, from the noun. Panicky is first recorded 1869. Panic button in fig. sense is first recorded 1955, the literal sense apparently is from parachuting.

"type of grass," c.1420, from O.Fr. panic "Italian millet," from L. panicum "kind of millet," from panus "ear of millet, a swelling," of unknown origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

panic pan·ic (pān'ĭk)
A sudden overpowering feeling of terror.

pan'ic v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Computing Dictionary

panic definition

1. What Unix does when a critical internal consistency checks fails in such a way that Unix cannot continue. The kernel attempts to print a short message on the console and write an image of memory into the swap area on disk. This can be analysed later using adb. The kernel will then either wait in a tight loop until the machine is rebooted or will initiate an automatic reboot.
Unix manual page: panic(8).
2. Action taken by software which discovers some fatal problem which prevents it from continuing to run.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see push the panic button.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
In financial markets too, it is better to avert panic than to try to pacify it.
German orthodoxy ignores the possibility that rising bond yields are being
  driven by a self-fulfilling panic in financial markets.
Or to use an old-fashioned term that has come back into common use, it
  triggered a financial panic.
The pall soon turns to panic as, one by one, Ruco's top executives meet with
  suspicious ends.
Idioms & Phrases
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